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Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: January 28th, 2020, 9:40 am
by richiehayden
Hi all,
Wondering if I could get some advice on studio setup from the more experienced. I'd like a good setup for Librivox purposes that would also allow me to move into part time voice acting and record some music (more for myself). I have a space set aside and an acoustic setup I believe will work. I've tried and am considering several mics, and have heard good things about a couple of audio interfaces.
The mics so far are the Rode NT-1, AT 2020 (haven't used), Shure PGA27 or SM7B (with a cloudlifter, at the high end), and the AKG P120 and P220. I really liked the Rode and AKG P220, but also the Shures for clarity. You can probably see the price range I'm looking at - I'm fairly serious about it and feel there are some good mics in there.
I'm also curious about the TZ Audio Stellar X2 or Synco D-2 shotgun mic, and whether anyone has experience with them...
The AIs I'm looking at are the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and the Audient ID4, but I'm open to suggestions too.
Looking forward to your thoughts!
Thanks,

Rich

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: January 28th, 2020, 11:00 am
by realisticspeakers
I am about to pull the trigger on the D2

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: January 28th, 2020, 7:40 pm
by richiehayden
Oooh! I'll be really interested to hear how you find it! Please let me know.

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: January 29th, 2020, 11:01 am
by sjmarky
Of the mics you're considering, I've tried the AT2020, AKG220 and Rode. Honestly, you won't be unhappy with any of them, although if you go Audio-Technica I'd go one model up to the 2035; it has a larger capsule like the other two, shock mount and low-cut switch, which the 2020 lacks, all for another $50. I use a Scarlett interface as well, but I'm using the Solo since I only need one track and it requires no software drivers, which have caused me headaches with other makes in the past. The Id4 is also very good, but more expensive; I haven't used one, but I know it has a good rep. The Shure SM7+Cloudlifter is fine, but more costly and no better than the condensers you're looking at IMHO.

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: January 29th, 2020, 12:56 pm
by richiehayden
That's really helpful! Thank you.

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: January 30th, 2020, 8:31 am
by Algy Pug
As Mark says, the AT 2035 is a fine mic - and you would be happy with it.

I believe that the Audio Stellar X2 is just a rebadged BM700, which is a Chinese condenser sold under a variety of brand names, including ISK and Neewer. The BM700 is not a bad mic, but I wouldn't spend $140 on it. Here is a review:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThK8uxlQ-qg

if you were looking at a more expensive unit, like the Rode NT1, you should also consider the Sennheiser MK4, which I use myself. I call it the "poor man's Neumann." You can find a review here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYg2AAvDL0U&t=200s

For interfaces I have used the following:

Scarlet Focusrite 2i2 (Ist gen)
Steinberg UR12
Yamaha AG06
Audient ID4

All have worked well except the 2i2, from which I could never get sufficient gain.

It is also recommended that a good pair of headphones be included. I use the Audio Technica ATH M40X:
https://amzn.to/2RFPbp5

Happy shopping!

Cheers

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: January 31st, 2020, 10:09 am
by schrm
just to mention it: a set with headphones, cables, mic and audio interface is available from focusrite, from rode, audiotechnica as well as some others with varying contents

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 11:56 am
by richiehayden
This is all great info. Thank you.

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: February 20th, 2020, 1:50 pm
by richiehayden
sjmarky wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 11:01 am
I use a Scarlett interface as well, but I'm using the Solo since I only need one track and it requires no software drivers, which have caused me headaches with other makes in the past.
Just curious about the gain needed with the solo, since I've seen multiple posts saying you need to crank the gain on the 2i2 to get anywhere near something good. What's your experience been?

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: February 20th, 2020, 3:39 pm
by tovarisch
You didn't ask me (sorry to barge in), and I don't have a solo... But it might interest you to know that of three (so far) different interfaces I have tried, all needed to be cranked up to the max with a dynamic microphone, and not to the max for a condenser. I just got myself a mic booster, which allows me to back out the knob of the preamp gain to about 80% (for about the same mic-mouth distance) to obtain the same recording levels with my dynamic mic. Just thought I'd share.

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: February 20th, 2020, 6:21 pm
by richiehayden
No need to apologise! Thanks for chiming in. Very helpful. What condensor/s do you use?

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: February 20th, 2020, 8:34 pm
by tovarisch
When I use a condenser, it's an AKG C214.

Nowadays I usually record with an Electro-Voice RE320. I like it better because it's less sensitive to distant/ambient noises and it has no proximity effect to speak of.

I recently switched from Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD to Focusrite Clarett 2Pre and added a KLARK Technik mic booster to the RE320.

Mind you, this is an amateur setup in my living room. This is a pure hobby and I have some funds I can burn; as far as LV is concerned it's a severe overkill.

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: February 23rd, 2020, 11:33 am
by sjmarky
richiehayden wrote:
February 20th, 2020, 1:50 pm
sjmarky wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 11:01 am
I use a Scarlett interface as well, but I'm using the Solo since I only need one track and it requires no software drivers, which have caused me headaches with other makes in the past.
Just curious about the gain needed with the solo, since I've seen multiple posts saying you need to crank the gain on the 2i2 to get anywhere near something good. What's your experience been?
I have plenty of gain using any of my condenser mics. It would likely not have enough gain for a dynamic, and would need a supplemental preamp, such as a Cloudlifter.

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: February 23rd, 2020, 12:57 pm
by tovarisch
And, to add to what Mark said, a Cloudlifter CL-1 or a Fethead would likely be better than what I tried, a KLARK Technik mic booster. The latter is not without noise. It adds a very audible high-pitch whine to the recording. What a shame. I am returning mine.

If you can try one before paying for it, do. I am losing the return shipping cost, and writing it off as the price of the lesson learned ("you get what you pay for").

Re: Studio setup - Mic and Preamp

Posted: February 23rd, 2020, 5:58 pm
by sjmarky
If your concern is extraneous noise, the S Mic 2 might be a better way to go than a dynamic. BoomMike posted his test in listeners with one, and it sounds really good. I seriously considered one after moving into a new house in which the acoustics in my recording space were a problem. I ultimately went with a CAD e100s, which is a supercardioid which helped solve my problem, but the SM2 I'm sure would have been fine (for less money).